What Is The Likelihood Of North Korea Attacking

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Lindsey Graham might have just drawn a line in the sand when it comes to North Korea. The U.S. Senator from South Carolina told theatlantic.com that if North Korea conducts another nuclear missile test, “then all bets are off.

” Graham, a Republican, went a step further. He placed odds on the likelihood the U.S. attacks North Korea. “I would say there’s a three in 10 chance we use the military option,” Graham told theatlantic.

com of the possibility of a violent conflict without another nuclear weapons test by North Korea, which has conducted six tests to date. His prediction more than doubles should it be a response to an additional test of a nuclear weapon. “I would say 70 percent,” Graham said.

“If there’s a war with North Korea it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we’re headed to a war if things don’t change,” Graham told cnn.

com. South Carolina’s senior senator said the issue of North Korea came up Sunday, during a round of golf with President Donald Trump. “It comes up all the time,” Graham told theatlantic.

com. Graham has had Trump’s ear on a number of issues, most recently the tax bill and budget talks.

Trump previously voiced support for Graham’s failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. So what Graham thinks is especially important if he’s in Trump’s inner circle, where he could help determine strategy and potentially dictate decision making.

In his interview, Graham offered his two cents. “If nothing changes, Trump’s gonna have to use the military option, because time is running out,” Graham said of any potential conflict, which he told theatlantic.

com wouldn’t be a simple action. “War with North Korea is an all-out war against the regime. There is no surgical strike option. … So if you ever use the military option, it’s not to just neutralize their nuclear facilities – you gotta be willing to take the regime completely down.” The White House has repeatedly denied pursuing a regime change, according to multiple reports.

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC In spite of that, many of Graham’s non-military suggestions also involve unseating Kim Jong Un as North Korea’s leader.

He put the onus on China to remove Kim. One option is to “kill the guy,” while another would be to stop oil shipments to North Korea and cripple its economy. But Graham, who has built a reputation as an aggressive foreign policy hawk, said he wants to pursue other options before committing to a military conflict.

“I’m not taking anything off the table to avoid a war. … When they write the history of the times, I don’t want them to say, ‘Hey, Lindsey Graham wouldn’t even talk to the guy.’ ” Graham seemed to offer a retrospective approach on the issue of war.

He referenced World War II, and Great Britain’s policy of appeasement with Nazi Germany before engaging in war. He used that as an example of what not to do, insinuating avoiding conflict isn’t always the best approach.

“(British Prime Minister Neville) Chamberlain was a fool.’ … World War II was preventable about 10 different times, Graham said. “Fifty years from now, long after I’m dead and gone, what will they say about this time? “I don’t want people 50 years from now having to live with the consequences of us getting this wrong.

” Graham said the sacrifice of some is price to be paid for the safety of many. It was not clear who would be at stake, be it the U.S. military, South Koreans or anybody else. Experts have warned a war between North Korea and the U.

S. could get “very bloody, very quickly,” according to newsweek.com. A November report from the Congressional Research Service concluded as many as 300,000 would die in the first few days of such a conflict, even without the use of nuclear weapons. “I am literally willing to put hundreds of thousands of people at risk, knowing that millions and millions of people will be at risk if we don’t.

And that’s why this whole exercise sucks so much,” Graham told theatlantic.com. “I get, like, zero joy out of having this choice for President Trump.”

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By Haejin Choi and Josh Smith SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean guards fired warning shots across the heavily militarized border with North Korea on Thursday as a soldier from the North defected in thick fog, complicating efforts to ease tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. A South Korean defense ministry official said up to 20 warning shots were fired as North Korean troops approached too near the "military demarcation line" at the demilitarized zone (DMZ), apparently in search of the missing soldier.

Thursday's defection came about five weeks after a North Korean soldier suffered critical gunshot wounds during a defection dash across the border. Two North Korean civilians were also found in a fishing boat on Wednesday and had sought to defect, officials in the South said. That brings the total number of North Koreans who have defected by taking dangerous routes either directly across the border or by sea to 15 so far this year, including two other soldiers.

That is three times the number last year, according to South Korean officials. Tensions on the Korean peninsula were already high after reclusive, impoverished North Korea accelerated testing of its missile and nuclear programs this year in defiance of international pressure and UN sanctions. The defections also threaten to complicate South Korea's efforts to ensure the smooth running of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which begin in Pyeongchang in February.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday he had proposed postponing major military drills with the United States until after the games in an attempt to soothe relations, although officials in Seoul later said any proposed delay would depend on the North not engaging in any "provocations". In a notice published online, the U.S. military's 8th Army said a "significant number of North Korean propaganda leaflets and CDs" had been distributed at "strategic locations" on multiple U.

S. military bases in South Korea. The notice called on troops to report any suspicious individuals to help combat potential "insider threats" that could disrupt military operations. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and North Korea says regular U.S.-South Korean military drills are a prelude to invasion. It regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its two key Asian allies, South Korea and Japan.

LANDMINES, BARBED WIRE Seoul says more than 880 North Koreans have defected to the rich, democratic South so far this year, but the vast majority have taken a less dangerous route through China. Going through China, North Korea's neighbor and sole major ally, means they avoid the DMZ, which features landmines, barbed wire, surveillance cameras, electric fencing and thousands of armed troops on both sides.

The number of defectors arriving successfully in the South has dropped since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, a trend defectors and experts say may be linked to a crackdown by Pyongyang. There was no immediate comment from the secretive North about the latest incidents. However, the North's state media released a statement sharply denying U.S. allegations this week that Pyongyang was behind a number of recent cyber attacks.

Washington has publicly blamed North Korean hackers for a cyber attack in May that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies. Researchers also say the North was likely behind attacks on virtual currency exchanges. The military drills with the United States have also complicated relations with China. The proposed delay in drills was discussed during a summit between Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week after the proposal was submitted to Washington, an official at the presidential Blue House said this week.

China and Russia have proposed a "freeze for freeze" arrangement under which North Korea would stop its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the exercises, but there has been little interest from Washington or Pyongyang. DEFECTION IN HEAVY FOG In Thursday's defection, a low-ranking soldier crossed the border near a South Korean guard post, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman, Roh Jae-cheon, said.

No shots were fired at the soldier. Surveillance equipment detected him despite heavy fog that limited visibility to about 100 meters (110 yards), Roh said. South Korean guards fired about 20 warning shots at North Korean troops near the border presumably searching for the defector about half an hour later, a defense ministry official in the South told Reuters. Gunfire from the North was detected later but the target could not be determined, the official said.

South Korea's Unification Ministry also said maritime police had found two North Korean men drifting in a small boat off the coast on Wednesday. The pair "expressed their willingness to defect", a ministry official said, and their claim for asylum was being investigated. The North Korean soldier who was shot several times during a daring dash across the border on Nov. 13 has since been identified as 24-year-old Oh Chong Song and is now in a military hospital south of Seoul.

His treatment for gunshot wounds and pre-existing conditions has included two major operations and intelligence officials will begin questioning him soon. (Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Heekyong Yang in SEOUL; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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